CUENCA DIGESTNew GM labeling rule upsets food producers; ‘snake oil’ products seized in raid; universities add cameras

Sep 24, 2013

Speaking to members of the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Ecuador’s Coordinating Minister of Production Ricardo Espinosa said his office will enforce new rules that all packaged food products be labeled that they contain or do not contain genetically modified products (GM).

The rule requires GM food products to bear a label stating, "Contains component transgenic 'or' does not contain GM components.” The rule was enacted September 11.

Guillermo Narvaez, chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers Food and Beverage (Anfab), told Espinosa that the 60-day deadline to comply with the new rule is unrealistic. “We have too many products already labeled and it would require a great deal of work to remove and replace labels,” he said. He also said that products containing no GM materials should be required to carry a label.

Espinosa said that his office is willing to work with businesses to make the transition smooth and is already in talks with several food producers.

He added that the label is intended to provide information to consumers and to protect their health, and that it is based on European GM reporting requirements.


Police seize miracle cures and aphrodisiacs

In a joint operation by the Ministry of Health and national police Friday in the Plaza San Francisco, authorities seized 1,073 natural products they said did not meet health standards.

The products included a variety of supposed cures for physical ailments, including muscle pain, skin disease and impotence. The health ministry said that the products have not been vetted by scientific studies and, in many cases, “are nothing more than snake oil.”

Also seized were dozens of potions and scented water advertised to attract lovers. They bore such names as “Come to Me,” "Love Potion #9" and “Follow Me.”

Universities install more security cameras

Cuenca’s four largest universities are following the city’s lead in installing security cameras on their campuses.

Universidad Salesian Polytechnic Cuenca (UPS) has installed 13 cameras in buildings and on high traffic walkways and in parking lots, and plans to add an additional 25. The video surveillance is monitored 24-hours a day.

The University of Cuenca installed 16 video cameras earlier this year and plans to add more. The surveillance is tied into the provincial ECU-911 monitoring system. The university says it is focusing on areas that have high crime rates, particularly parking lots.

Cameras have also been installed at the Universtiy of Azuay and Catholic university.

Security officials at all four campuses say they are seeing a reduction in crime.

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